Fire, both as a natural event and as used by Aboriginal people, has been a part of the Australian environment for thousands of years. It has shaped our plants and animals into the ecosystems we have today. Its effects in many areas of Victoria are important for the health of our plants and animals.
Victoria’s geographical location, its vegetation and climate of mild winters followed by warm summers, combine to produce one of the most severe fire environments in the world.
Parks Victoria works closely with the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) to manage fire on Victoria’s public land.
Is fire good or bad for the parks?
Most major parks in Victoria require periodic fire to ensure the survival of certain plants and animals.
A number of native plants and animals have developed specific ways of surviving fire. In fact many plants, such as banksias and Grass Trees, rely on fire to regenerate seeds and survive.
If you look closely at some of the plants in Victoria’s bush you might notice special adaptations for fire. For example, eucalyptus species have flammable oils and loose bark to encourage fire. Following fire they can recover quickly by sprouting special epicormic shoots from beneath their bark.
It is important to manage fire so it occurs at the right time and intensity for particular species and their communities. Too frequent or intense fires can work against the health of the environment.
Fire and animals
Fire helps create habitats - burnt out logs and areas of open forest provide important habitat for animals. By thinning dominate canopy species, fire also helps ensure a diversity of species which in turn provides food for a wider variety of animals. For example, at the moment DEPI and Parks Victoria are using fire to create habitat for threatened species including the Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Smoky Mouse and Ground Parrot.
Like rabbits and possums that eat the seedlings in our gardens, most native animals prefer fresh green seedlings. Therefore shortly after fire as plants start to reshoot, higher populations of animals can be sustained.
Aboriginal fire management
Aboriginal people used fire to encourage fresh growth and to help them hunt.
Using fire, animals were flushed out of thick bush into the open where they were easier to hunt. The fresh growth following fire also meant an increase in the population of grazing animals like kangaroos, and in turn more for Aboriginal people to hunt.
The term ‘prescribed burning’ refers to the use of fire to achieve planned land and resource management objectives. Depending on the environment type, some parks need more frequent fire than others.
There are two main reasons that Parks Victoria and the DEPI conduct prescribed burns:
- Fuel management – to reduce the risk and intensity of bushfires in areas surrounding towns and important assets.
- Flora and fauna management – to maintain species diversity and encourage fire dependant species like banksias and Grass Trees to regenerate.
Prescribed burns are usually conducted in autumn or spring when the weather is milder. Keep an eye out when you’re travelling at this time of year for the large plumes of smoke coming from the burns.
To learn more visit DEPI's website.
14 Jul 2014
A job that would have taken Parks Victoria Rangers Kirraly and Dannica hours to complete was done in less than half an hour thanks to some new volunteer hands at Brimbank Park. It was hard rubbish collection week, and someone had decided to use a heap of materials left in…
1 Aug 2014 7:00pm-9:00pm
Low key, fun, club level MTB racing
5 Aug 2014 11:00am-5:00pm
Tuesday 5 August 2014 marks the 100 year anniversary of the first shot fired in the British Empire in World War I. This shot was fired from Coastal Artillery Gun Emplacement 6 at Fort Nepean on 5 August 1914 at 12:45pm, just 3 hours 45 minutes after war was declared…
6 Aug 2014
The Grey-headed Flying-fox is the largest flying-fox (also known as a fruit bat) species in Australia. Each month the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology conduct the monthly bat count at Yarra Bend Park at dusk on the Wednesday evening closest to the risen full moon. This data is critical…
6 Aug 2014 10:00am-11:00am
Enjoy the fresh air of this beautiful park and get an insight into the park’s fascinating history, flora and fauna. This free guided walk run by Friends of Tarra Bulga National Park will lead you across the famous Corrigan Suspension Bridge which stretches through the rainforest canopy, and on either…
We’d like to say a special thanks this World Ranger Day to all of our fantastic...We’d like to say a special thanks this World Ranger Day to all of our fantastic rangers who help to care for Victoria's parks. They do an amazing job that includes a huge variety of work. Whether it's helping to fight fires, cleaning up after floods, building new tracks and trails, monitoring native animals and plants, controlling pest species or helping visitors to enjoy their stay, the list is endless! Thank you!View post | Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16.53
Timeline PhotosHRH Prince William the Duke of Cambridge gives his important World Ranger Day message and strong support to the world's rangers, who are the front-line of conservation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpt6vN0vwV0View post | Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16.35
Timeline PhotosToday is World Rangers Day - a perfect day to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all these extraordinary people taking care of and protecting our natural environment. At @[161854162881:274:Greenfleet] we work with Rangers for many of our native reforestation projects, like the forest we planted in Kinglake National Park, Vic. "Ion and Tony, Rangers in charge of Kinglake National Park pictured below, are two of the most passionate people I've ever met. Their work goes beyond protecting the Park and they play a key role in bringing the community together in this beautiful part of Victoria. It's always great to catch up with them and I can't wait to work with them for our upcoming planting days in the Park!", said Aline, our Marketing Coordinator.View post | Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13.10
Today is World Ranger Day and we honour those park rangers who have lost their l...Today is World Ranger Day and we honour those park rangers who have lost their lives in the line of duty, and celebrate and acknowledge the brave, tireless, and critical role of the planets park rangers in protecting our world’s natural and cultural treasures. World Ranger Day 2014 - July 31st - The Thin Green Line Foundationthingreenline.org.auA message from Sean Willmore (Founder of The Thin Green Line Foundation & President of the International Ranger Federation) The 31st of July each year is the one day, more than most, that we ask the world community to pause, reflect and honour those park rangers who have lost their lives in the line…View post | Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10.57
Recent storm damage at Brimbank Park had the team busy cleaning up and removing...Recent storm damage at Brimbank Park had the team busy cleaning up and removing debris. Some of the work involved chain-sawing, and the team were about to tackle one tree when Ranger Kirraly spotted this pair of Tawny Frogmouths. Not wanting to disturb these important and beautiful new residents, the team have rescheduled the works until these locals decide to pack up and make another tree their home.View post | Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13.39